Parel’s dream comes true on PGA Tour Champions


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – There’s a great “Seinfeld” scene in which Kramer believes he finally has unlocked the secret to golf thanks to a new caddie and that he is destined for greatness in his twilight years.

“Stan’s advice has transformed my game,” Kramer says. “He’s never wrong. He thinks eventually I’ll have a shot at making it big on the senior tour. Oh, that’s my dream, Jerry.”

Scott Parel is living that dream.

The 52-year-old’s unorthodox career path continued Sunday with a win at the Diamond Resorts Invitational, where he bested Scott Dunlap in a sudden-death playoff.

Parel graduated from Georgia but didn’t play college golf. He worked as a computer programmer for 10 years, turned pro at age 31 and played on the Web.com Tour for nearly two decades with one victory. In 2016 he was co-medalist at PGA Tour Champions Q-School, earning full status for 2017 with a resume that includes just five starts and one made cut on the PGA Tour.

“When I got in my late 40s, this is kind of what I envisioned, hoping that I would have a chance to do this,” Parel said. “It’s been amazing. Honestly, it’s a dream come true.”

Parel finished with 93 points in the Diamond Resorts Invitational’s modified Stableford scoring system at Tranquilo Golf Club. He birdied the par-3 18th to win the playoff at the laid-back event, which featured a gaggle of celebrities and pros from the senior tour and LPGA. Parel scored 32 points in the third and final round, while Dunlap caught up with 34.

Former professional tennis player Mardy Fish won the celebrity division, beating a diverse group including the likes of Roger Clemens, Lee Brice, Alfonso Ribeiro and Larry the Cable Guy.

“Most of them are my friends now,” John Daly, who finished third with 88 points, said of the celebrities. “It’s just cool to see them, to play golf with them. They’re having a great time, we’re all having a good time. It’s a great week to see those guys and hang out with them, and you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to get started for the new year.”

The results don’t count toward the Schwab Cup standings, in which Parel finished No. 21 in 2017. He earned $876,841, more than his combined winnings in 222 career starts on the Web.com Tour.

Parel’s results were good enough to earn exempt status in 2018 and keep the dream alive for another year, at least.

Giddy up. Gwk

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